'You can't compare Sachin and Lara'

Published: Wednesday, April 21, 2004, 16:48 [IST]
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Mumbai:Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said that Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar and West Indies skipper Brian Lara were in a different class but both of them are great batsmen of this era.

Akhtar, who is in Mumbai to shoot for a commercial along with Tendulkar for motorbike company, said that he considers Sachin (Tendulkar) in a different class as his record of nearly 70 centuries in both form of games (One-day and Tests) speaks for itself while Lara is his favourite batsman in the world.

"It is very difficult to compare two batsmen of different styles. To me both are great and the only comparison I can think of is that I have bowled enough to Sachin in my seven years of international cricket but I am yet to bowl a ball to Lara in any form of cricket," he added.

"It so happens that when I am bowling, Lara has never come to bat and when he is batting in the middle I have not got a chance to bowl. However, I admire his batting, as he is so elegant and solid. He makes batting look very easy and his stamina and will power to stay in the middle is amazing," Akhtar, who refused to answer any controversial or questions pertaining to his future plans, said.

When asked about his visit to India, Akhtar said, "I came on the invitation of TVS Motors to shoot for Victor bike. Basically it is Sachin's act and I am just a part of it".

"I would also like to take this opportunity to do some social service like visiting cancer hospital and playing cricket with the boys of an orphanage," he added.

"I would like to think that I am an ambassador of my country to India. It is not that we in Pakistan get opportunities to do social work everyday though there are a lot to be done," Akhtar said.

When asked about the constant struggle between him and Aussie paceman Brett Lee to be the fastest bowler in the world, Akhtar, said, "like I told you before that I don't believe in comparing two batsmen of different styles. I don't think it is fair to compare two bowlers with totally different actions".

When asked to compare the modelling scene in Pakistan to India, Akhtar said, "the modelling scene in India is definitely bigger in India than in Pakistan and I personally like to come to Mumbai when ever I can as I love this city.

"Infact Mumbai is my second home and god willing I would like to come here quite often," he added with a big smile.

When asked whether the recently concluded series against India, which was termed as the friendship series, lived up to the expectations, Akhtar said, "certainly. The hospitality our people showed to the Indian spectators had to be seen to be believed. The Taxi drivers refused to charge their passengersonce they learnt they were from India and this had never happened before".

"I think the series was a big success and winning and losing was not the ultimate goal and a team which played better won the series in the end," he added.

"Infact the politicians from both countries were shy to come forward and hold talks, now cricket has set the motion for them to not only hold talks but also extend their hands in friendship because every Pakistani and Indian wants both the countries to friends," the Rawalpindi Express said.

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